As a Navy SEAL for more than 25 years, Jay Hennessey has completed numerous overseas deployments in and outside theaters of war throughout the Western Pacific, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa.  In addition to his operational tours, Jay has served in a variety of other assignments involving selecting, training and qualifying young men to become U.S. Navy SEALs and Special Warfare Combatant Crewman. He currently is the Vice President of Learning & Development with the Cleveland Indians. This role enables him to serve as resource for leaders at all levels to continuously improve through leadership development and learning management initiatives.

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  • Shared Adversity – “That’s what creates the foundation for teams. It’s the glue that builds trust.”
    • MOFO – Mandatory Optional Fitness Opportunity
    • SEAL training – The shared adversity among trainees creates camaraderie. Evolutions are team based.
  • “Lock arms laying the surf”
  • “Great teams aren’t created by happenstance” — You must be intentional and deliberate.
  • What is the culture you want to create? – “You must be deliberate about that up front.”
    • “The language you use is so important.”
  • Dan Coyle is the ultimate connector
  • “When people are asking you questions, it’s super energizing” — Approach each conversation with a curious mind
  • Foster “Organization Humility”
  • The Fifth Discipline by Peter Senge:
    • The discipline of team learning starts with ‘dialogue’, the capacity of members of a team to suspend assumptions and enter into a genuine ‘thinking together’. To the Greeks dia-logos meant a free-flowing of meaning through a group, allowing the group to discover insights not attainable individually…. [It] also involves learning how to recognize the patterns of interaction in teams that undermine learning.
    • Dialog vs. Discussion
      • Dialog = Strong convictions loosely held. Starting with, “I may be wrong…”
      • Discussion = Trying to convince others you’re right
  • The Learning Organization
    • Get reps – Read with someone else and share
    • Engage the learner:
      • Just in time
      • Just for you
      • Just in case
  • Building a learning organization creates a competitive advantage:
    • Great teams are always learning, evolving, and changing. What you know now will be extinct in five years. Must keep learning.
    • “Nobody that we hire wants to be stagnant.”
    • There is no mandatory compliance.
  • Book: Practice Perfect– “Whoever is doing the talking is doing the learning.” When building a learning organization, stress that it’s about active participation. Not passively watching lectures, but actively participating in them.
  • Being a “Yes, And…” leader — Build off the ideas of others. Lift them up. A “Yes, And…” leader doesn’t need the credit. They bring energy to the group.
    • “Leadership is about making something better than it was when you found it and doing so by developing people along the way. Leaders cannot be energy neutral. They are either adding energy or taking energy.” – Tom Ogburn
    • Don’t be a “Mr. Poopy Pants” — “Oh, well that will never work.” Nobody wants to work with Mr. Poopy Pants.
  • How to develop awareness:
    • Started as the second youngest guy on the seam when he went to SEAL team 5. He was 2nd in charge of his platoon.
      • “Show up with humility and think, ‘where can I add value?’
      • Ask for help from mentors — Hitch yourself to a strong chief.
      • “Have a strong burden to add value”
  • A stay ready mindset — Have a ‘never peak’ attitude. Always ready to go. No excuses. “In every aspect of your life, no one cares what you used to be able to do, they care what you can do today.”
  • What type of leader do you want to be? — Write it down. Leaders need to think deeply. Writing forces that to happen.
    • Write your command philosophy
    • Be deliberate
  • Be a connector:
    • What is the difference between Connecting and Networking – Networking is looking for people who you can help; networking is looking for people who can help you. Be a connector.
  • How to build comfort in your own skin?
    • Do hard things — Progress turns into confidence
    • It’s a self-efficacy model — It’s okay to fail. Overcome it and keep going. Be part of something bigger than you.
  • Excellence — “Humility is the enabler for curiosity.”
  • Here is WHY joining a Learning Leader Circle is a good idea…
  • Jay’s “Leadership Philosophy”
    • Mission: To execute at my fullest potential and to serve as a resource to help my Family and Teammates continuously improve at every stage of their personal and professional development.
    • Vision:  to lead a healthy and happy family where we all strive to become the best version of ourselves. Professionally, my vision is to be a contributing member of a learning organization with a culture that encourages learning and development at every level.
    • Core Attributes: Humility, curiosity, empathy, trust, follower-ship, generosity, competition, health & fitness, gratitude
    • Guiding Leadership Principles: Exude positivity, communicate effectively, learn and adapt in all areas of personal and professional life, be creative, iterate & execute quickly, be aggressive, have fun, show initiative toward opportunities and problems, challenge self, solitude/mindfulness, be deliberate (set goals, reflect)
    • Leadership Statement: Make the most of everything I do – be positive, have fun, learn, adapt, and push / pull / drag or chase my teammates toward our goals.


More Learning:

Episode 078: Kat Cole – From Hooters Waitress To President of Cinnabon

Episode 216: Jim Collins — How To Go From Good To Great

Episode #300: AJ & Keith Hawk – How To Instill Work Ethic & Curiosity In Your Children

Episode #303General Stanley McChrystal – The New Definition Of Leadership